Carissa Dahl
February 2016
KVH Home Health and Hospice
Kittitas Valley Healthcare
United States




Home Health nurses must possess excellent physical assessment skills and be able to recognize whether their patient's condition is stable or deteriorating - whether it is daytime, nighttime or Christmas Eve. They must assess the patient in the home and be the eyes and ears for the provider, whom they notify with a change in condition that would require a new medication or treatment plan. That is exactly what happened in this case.
Carissa Dahl was nominated by her 74 year old patient for her clinical expertise and the compassionate care she provided to him in his home, which he described as "going above and beyond to save my life". He wrote:
"Carissa Dahl has shown how much she cares for her patients and her profession. Just before Christmas, I was released and sent home from KVH (recovering from pneumonia). The next morning I was in pain when Carissa came for my home care visit. Within 15 minutes she had called 911 and returned me to the hospital where I was found to have a ruptured appendix. I firmly believe she saved my life by her quick and decisive action that day."
On Christmas Eve, Carissa arrived at the patient's home and immediately assessed that he was severely ill. She noted that his skin was flushed, he was diaphoretic and tachypenic and having severe right lower quadrant pain. She immediately called Family Medicine Cle Elum to speak with Zoe Carlson, ARNP regarding the change in the patient's condition, and then called 911. Ever reassuring, Carissa remained with the patient until he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. After the ambulance left, Carissa called the Emergency Department to give a warm handoff of the patient to the Emergency Department RN, making certain that the RN on duty understood the status of the patient and his history. She then called into the Home Care office to update her supervisor that her patient had been transported to the hospital. But her caring didn't stop there; she also followed up with the patient later in the afternoon and learned that he was in surgery for a ruptured appendix.
Carissa's excellent assessment skills and quick thinking kept this patient safe and helped him to have a full recovery. While Carissa may state that she is "just doing her job" we recognize Carissa Dahl as an extraordinary nurse and a wonderful representative of Kittitas Valley Healthcare. We are delighted that she is a part of our Home Health and Hospice family.